Plant Power

OPB | July 17, 2008 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:43 p.m.

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How do you decide what kind of fuel to use?

As evidence mounts for the link between climate change and fossil fuels, many people are looking for more sustainable fuel choices. Whether you want it or not, you’re already driving with fuel that’s been a plant quite recently.

Anyone who fills their tank with regular gasoline in southern or western Oregon gets fuel that is 10% ethanol, a substance made from corn. The state is phasing in a mandate that will include eastern Oregon starting this fall. Diesel drivers can go with 100% vegetable oil, but all diesel sold in Portland is at least 5% bio based. In the rest of Oregon there’s a minimum 2% bio requirement for diesel. Tax incentives for producers and consumers mean more and more Oregonians are part of the lifecycle of biofuels.

While many may see these mandates as a step in the right direction, detractors say biofuels are produced unsustainably and that increasing demand is driving up food prices.

How much of the fuel in your tank was grown in a field rather than pumped out of the ground? What informs your fuel choices?

 

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